by Samantha Matcovsky
Vivant Books are considered by experts to have high value and are more than just "Coffee Table" books.
In 2009, an incredible thing happened. Mia Benenate and her mother, Becky Benenate, pooled together their experiences in publishing with their love for art collecting and established Vivant Books.
Vivant Books is not just your humdrum publishing company. It is a company focused on producing beautiful coffee table books brimming with contemporary fine art. Each limited edition displays an elegant architecture of design, a full length biography of the artist and a spread of collected works. Vivant Books also produces an even smaller amount of deluxe artist editions that include original works by the artist. Vivant Books is successfully defying the age of digitalization and helping keep palpable art and literature alive.
What was the origin of Vivant Books?
My mom and I wanted to produce coffee table books on contemporary art but we also knew that we wanted to be different. Our venture partner at the time was working with an artist and wanted us to do a coffee table book on that particular artist. Historically, my mom had been in the publishing industry working with New World Library which is one of the premiere New Age trade book publishers. I had worked at Amber-Allen Publishing, a similar publishing company, so the arts were definitely a departure for both of us.
We're both very interested in creating beautiful books that are functional but also pieces of art in and of themselves. Our books are high quality, high value and are all limited editions. They cost quite a bit of money to make because they are made of the finest quality materials, and because of the limited editions, they are quite collectable.
Why did the company choose to focus on Fine Arts books?
I think we kind of fell into it. After it was suggested to us, we found that we really loved it and that it was a natural fit. Both she and I have been art collectors for a long time and we knew we wanted to be in publishing. Once we began working with the artists, our eyes opened to the array of artists that are out there. Our main goal is to create beautiful functional products that sell. To do that, we are working with artists that already have a built in audience. In addition to that fact that we love the art, we also love making books.
What separates your company from other publishing companies?
Not only are our books high quality and very beautiful, but we also hone in on accessibility. What I mean by that, and what differs us from a company like Taschen for example, is that we also package our limited editions with original artwork by the artists that we feature. For each edition we have a main edition, which is usually priced between $75 and $95, pretty standard for a nice coffee table book. But then we offer the deluxe artist editions that are packaged with the original art. It's really been essential to setting us apart.
We found that an original piece by the artists we feature could range anywhere from $3000 to over $100,000. A lot of their fans are not able to acquire an original piece of artwork, even at the lower end of that scale, especially for the younger fans. What we want to do and what the artists are really interested in, is broadening the audience that is able to acquire a piece of their work.
Who do you see as your target audience? Everyone, I would imagine.
Yes, everyone. Obviously the art enthusiasts but also the market that has been created by the artists. Many of the artists we work with have thousands of fans on social media. Ideally, we want to know that they also have gallery representation and are involved in the bigger art fairs. We do this because it shows us that they have an existing audience we can build off of. There are people, myself included that collect coffee table books because they are beautiful. Then there are the people who love the artwork. Because of what Vivant Books offers, I think we appeal to both and have opened up to a wider demographic.
Do you have any other criteria for choosing your artists, besides a large established fan base?
Definitely. It's about finding work that we love and think is important. Brett Amory, the subject of the book that is coming out in April, is an artist that I love. I've been following him for the last five years or so. To do a book on his work wasn't just a decision based on sale potential, it also was based on where I thought he was at in his career trajectory as an artist and the fact that I believe his work will make an impression in the history of art. All the artists we work with are saying something and we take our role recording that for posterity very seriously.
Tell me a little bit more about the Brett Amory book.
Throughout his career, Brett has been focused on a series titled Waiting. "Waiting is the series that garnered Amory international acclaim with its haunting and often stark depiction of Americana with a focus on urban buildings and human figures as they transition from one place to another.
Structurally elegant and architecturally precise in its execution, the compositions in the series seek to develop a deeper understanding of the movement through time and space using careful and detailed investigations of physical locales." The new book by Vivant focuses on Amory's complete works, which tends to be mostly this Waiting series.
When Brett was very young he figured out that the artists who were most successful were the ones who branded themselves. They had a recognizable look and feel that they consistently went after and those were the artists who were remembered. "Waiting" has evolved over time and this book takes the viewer through the narrative from when he was a young artist to today.
How would you describe his work?
Brett's work is very atmospheric and can be very stark. My favorite aspect is how he blends abstract and figurative elements to create a narrative. It can also be architectural and the building and urban locals are a large part of the work that tends to pinpoint him very squarely in his time. When people are looking at his pieces, one hundred years from now...that's the hope, right? That's what everybody wants... They will see a chronicle of the times Brett lived in. They will see these moments of solitude and reflection even while amidst the urban environment that can be quite chaotic.
What are some upcoming projects?
Brett Amory is set for April 30th. Kimberly Brooks and Gottfried Helnwein do not have release dates yet.
Where can people buy your books?
Please visit us at www.VivantBooks.com
Vivant Books are considered high value and there is no question why.
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